April 8, 1920

L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

Is there not some change? Has some new position not been created in connection with the office of Parliamentary Counsel?

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

There are no changes in the Law Branch, except provision for an extra assistant whose services are required.

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UNION

William Sora Middlebro (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Unionist

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

Is there not some

motion now before the Senate with a view to combining the law offices of the Commons and of the Senate, and bring them under one branch?

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The proposal to amalgamate the Law Branches of the Senate and of the Commons is now before the House for consideration by message from the Senate.

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UNION

William Sora Middlebro (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Unionist

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

Therefore, should

that branch not stand?

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

What are the qualifications of the assistants to the Parliamentary Counsel? The Chief Assistant and the two other assistants must be professional men, I suppose.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Yes, they must be barristers.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

Is any one of these assistants required to know both languages?

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

No.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Yes, one of the officials now is familiar with both languages.

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L LIB

Charles Arthur Gauvreau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. GAUVREAU:

That is a better answer.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Since the classification of 1913, have there been any changes in the personnel of the Law Branch?

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

Yes. The Law Branch has been further reorganized since the general reorganization of 1913; or, perhaps to put it another way, the branch was reorganized in consequence of the general scheme of reorganization of 1913. There have been no changes in personnel, other than those resultant from natural causes: one arising from the loss of a member of the staff at the front, and the other in connection with the appointment of a stenographer.

Agreed to.

Journals Branch-Chief of Journals and Secretarial Branch, assistant chief of Journals and Secretarial Branch ; four officials; sessional assistance as required.

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L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

In this branch there must be quite an important departure from the last classification. I see there will be only one Chief of the Journals, whereas previously we had a Chief of Journals for the English section and a Chief of Journals for the French section. This appears to be a very important departure, and I should like to have an expression of opinion from His Honour the Speaker on the matter.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

As pointed out by the

hon. member, there is a departure from the previous arrangement, for an obvious reason. You cannot have two Journals for the House of Commons. Though you may-have one Journal published in two languages, there can in the nature of things be but one Journal for the House of Commons. As a matter of actual practice, the Journal is entered up in English day by day by the Clerk at the Table, and the French

Journal is a translation of the English edition. It would therefore be anomalous to have two branches of the Journals' office for the House of Commons, and it seems but fitting and proper that the official who heretofore had charge of the French section of the Journal should be placed in the translation branch under " Journals That is the explanation I have to offer and it seems in logic the fair position to take.

iMr. LAPOINTE: I think the law requires that the proceedings of this House should be conducted and reported in both' languages and not in one language and translated into the other. If we must accept the situation as described by his honour the Speaker, we would have just as much right to ask that the proceedings should be reported in French and translated into the English language. Both languages are on a footing of equality under the law and I think that this proposed arrangement is a change which would not be acceptable to the House.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I would be the last person to suggest that the French language has not an equal status with the English language in this House. The position that I take has no reference to the French language as such. If the Clerk at the Table were one who spoke the French language and chose to enter the Journals in French, the position would be transposed; the translation would be into the English language. But that would not affect the position at all. It is illogical to insist that there shall be two Journals for the House of Commons; I do not see how it can be done. You can have one Journal in two languages but you cannot have two Journals.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

It should be under the same branch I submit.

/

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L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

The practice, which was established some seventy years ago and which has been followed ever since, has been highly satisfactory. It think it was in 1842 that the two heads of the Journals were first provided for, one English and one French. The reason for it, I think, is obvious. Although, as Mr. Speaker says, there is only one Journal, this Journal is published in two languages. If you have only one head, he must be thoroughly conversant with both languages; otherwise you could not say that he is a responsible head. It is in view of the fact-and I speak very frankly-that there are very few Englishspeaking people in this country who are thoroughly conversant with French that it was provided there should be two heads,

t

one English and the other French, in order that the Journal may be presented in both languages with a man responsible for each edition. That principle was confirmed in 1866, again in 1867, if I ^mistake not by classification in 1885, also in 1904, and in 1913 it was confirmed again by Dr. Sproule when Speaker. Really, I do not see any reason why we should do away with one of the heads of the Journals, be it the French head or the English head. The person who might be the head of the Journals might be an English-speaking gentleman and he would not likely be thoroughly conversant with the French language. Under such circumstances, who will be responsible when we preseilt to you the fact that the French Journal is not in proper form? The translator? The translator may be held responsible to a certain extent but the head, or editor of the Journal in French,, should be responsible and if there is no French head he cannot be held responsible. I know that there is no desire on the part of his honour, the Speaker, to do away with the English or the French language. I know he is animated with a desire to be fair and impartial in this regard, but 11 maintain that unless you have two heads of the Journal-and the Journals are the most important part of the publications of the House-so recorded by Bourinot himself-you will not have entire satisfaction.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

I respectfully differ

from my hon. friend from Beauce (Mr. Be-land). I entirely disassociate myself from his argument. If it is logical to say that we must have two heads, a French and an English head, of the Journals, that argument would apply with equal force to every department of the Government. That, I submit is an unsound position to take. Surely there can be but one responsible head of any department. It only requires that an official shall have a competent knowledge of French and English to enable him to say that the French Journal is an exact transcription of the English Journal; at all events during such period of time as the Clerk of the House happens to be an English-speaking person. There was at the head of the English branch Mr. Dalton, an old and very capable official, who has been superannuated. It is not the purpose to appoint an official in his place. In the interest of economy as well as of efficiency, it has been thought wiser to amalgamate a number of the offices of the House under one head. By so doing we can get more efficient work and we will save this country several thousand dollars a year which

in these times is an important consideration. I want to point out to the hon, members of the House who speak the French tongue that there is not the slightest disposition on the part of either the Speaker or the staff to do other than to see that the French-speaking officials get ample justice and fair treatment. I think that a careful examination of the officers of the House and the salaries paid to them will go to show that they are getting exceedingly generous treatment at the hands of the country. I would therefore ask the hon. gentleman not to press for the appointment of a French head for this branch, which is not necessary, but to assent to the proposal which is made solely in the interest of efficiency and economy.

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L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte Éthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. A. C. ETHIER:

I have not the slightest doubt that you, Mr. Speaker, are acting in a perfectly straightforward fashion and that you have no desire to interfere with the privileges and the rights pertaining to the use of the French language in this-House. Those rights and privileges have been very distinctly recognized in the past, and no less an authority than the late Dr. Bour-inot, in the last edition of his work on Parliamentary Procedure, notes and states very clearly that the rights of the French Journals should be equal to those of the English Journals. If there is any doubt on the point let me quote from section 133 of the British North America Act which provides as follows :

Either the English or the French language may be used by any person in the Debates of the Houses of the Parliament of Canada and of the Houses of the Legislature of Quebec; and both these languages shall be used in the respective Records and Journals of those Houses.

The right there laid down was recognized in this Parliament in 1917 when I believe Mr. Ghapleau was superannuated. That gentleman was the Chief editor of the French Journals and the position vacated by his superannuation I understand is still unfilled. Now it is suggested that there should be only one Chief of Journals. The official occupying that position is an English-speaking gentleman who is not conversant with the French language. True he will have a French-Canadian as his assistant but what about the salary attached to the position? When this classification goes before the Civil Service Commission the commission will be bound by it, although the salary is not what it should be for the French-Canadian official who occupies the position of assistant. That is what we are objecting to and why we are

insisting upon adherence to the principle already stated by my hon. friend from Beauce. .

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April 8, 1920